The I-45 Rivalry Rockets vs Mavericks Connection
Looking at the Houston-Dallas rivalry in retrospect, these two teams of the three in the Texas triangle outside of San Antonio. Both of these cities are separated by an average of 239 miles. Over the years, the I-45 rivalry has never disappointed from Tracy McGrady dunking on the 7’6 Shawn Bradley in the 2005 playoffs which broadcaster Kevin Harlan shouted “McGrady just sucked the gravity right out of the building”, to Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki hitting his one legged step back fad away shot that was money. Also don’t forget Jason Terry who shot lights out at Toyota Center at 60.6 percent from three. The 2005 I-45 playoff series did not disappointment at all going to seven games and Dallas won the series (4-3). The T-Mac and Yao era has filled lot of great memories against the Mavericks but both had battled injury issues. Both Head Coaches Jeff Van Gundy and Avery Johnson displayed great coaching on their respective sidelines. Now for the 2014-15 season new life has been ejected into the Rockets-Mavs rivalry.
Both the Mavs and Rockets are very similar in numerous ways; first they both have outstanding front offices with general Manger Daryl Morey of the Rockets and Donnie Nelson of the Mavs. Second, both teams that has winning owners in Leslie Alexander and Mark Cuban. Both teams embrace the analytics aspect of basketball. Additionally, both head coaches Kevin McHale and Rick Carlisle both won a championship together as teammates of the Boston Celtics in 1986 .Lastly, both I-45 rivals chase after the same free agents including the top tier all stars .All NBA fans will remember how this past NBA offseason played out due to the decision of LeBron James that froze the NBA market for days. The Rockets had declined the $964,750 option on Chandler Parsons to make him a restricted free agent. Houston had plans to make a run and hopefully land Carmelo Anthony or Chris Bosh with full intentions of matching any offer that came Parsons’ way. Likewise, Dallas was also in the Melo sweepstakes as well but moved on to their other plans in free agency and their target was Chandler Parsons. Parsons made it clear that he wanted to stay a member of the Rockets, according to the ESPN.com article by Marc Stein Parsons mentioned “ I would’ve accepted a lot less money early in the process to stay in Houston. But they told me they wanted to wait for the whole LeBron and Melo situation to play out, which I understood” Dallas and Parsons agreed to the three-year, $46 million offer sheet virtually giving the Rockets the mandated three days to match.
On the Parsons perspective his life would change rapidly after agreeing upon the Dallas offer sheet.With the breakdown on the offer sheet from the Mavericks, the Casselberry, FL native would be scheduled to make roughly $15 million a year along with the 15 percent trade kicker. If the Rockets planned to match the offer sheet it would’ve separated James Harden and Chandler Parsons’ salary by $346,868. Houston had beat Dallas and Los Angeles for Dwight Howard in 2013, then the Mavericks settled for Monta Ellis that same year. The Rockets made the decision to not match the offer sheet and let Chandler go to Dallas and replaced him by signing Trevor Ariza to a affordable contract and give Houston more flexibility going forward to improve the roster .
The State of Rivalry
Since his tenure as GM of the Rockets, Daryl Morey stocked piled assets over a few seasons and the time came when he later convinced the Oklahoma City Thunder to trade James Harden to Houston a day before the 2012-13 season began. A year later with the presence of Harden, led Dwight Howard to join the Rockets over the Mavericks which Mark Cuban questioned Howard’s decision making process. It has been a world of words back and forth between Morey and Cuban through the media. More pressure began to escalate, when Cuban had poached Rockets Executive VP of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas as the GM of the Mavs to provide a new outlook on analytics, but after three months of on the job he resigned due to tension within the Dallas front office. Rosas later returned back to Houston front office as the Executive VP of Basketball Operations. After Parsons was officially a member of the Mavericks, during Team USA camp where Harden was had made an initial claim that anyone outside of him and Dwight was merely “role players” on the team. More things even got interesting when the Rockets made a late trade to acquire the former longtime Dallas fan favorite and “Rocket Killer” Jason Terry.
For the upcoming 2014-15 season with the Dallas-Houston four I-45 matchups, Toyota Center and American Airlines Arena won’t have an empty seat in sight. With a reunion tour with Chandler Parsons and Jason Terry going against their former teams to go along with both teams trying to fight for secondary supremacy behind the San Antonio Spurs in the Texas triangle. The I-45 rivalry is freshly renewed with lots of excitement on and off the basketball court with the fans of red nation and MFFL (Mavs Fans For Life). Until then stay prepared for the next Mavericks/Rockets Texas sized tug-of-war over any free agent.